2016 Recap: N-Word Costs Reporter Lauren Podell Her Job at Local 4 News

December 28, 2016, 7:10 AM by  Alan Stamm


Lauren Podelll, 31, joined WDIV in 2007 as a traffic reporter and later added general assignments. (WDIV photo)

We reach the Final Four in our countdown of most-viewed 2016 articles. This originally was published Nov. 17. Links to the Top 10 list so far are at the end.

A familiar face in Detroit television news leaves in disgrace after breaking a taboo with a one-strike limit, associate editor Alana Walker reports for BLAC Detroit magazine:

WDIV reporter Lauren Podell resigned from her position at the station today, WDIV Vice President and General Manager Marla Drutz says in a company-wide email obtained by BLAC. . . .

This week, word got out that a WDIV reporter used the word "nigger" in a conversation with another coworker.

Off the air, she reportedly told a crew member or producer in April: "I'm tired of reporting on these niggers killing each other in Detroit." 

Sam Riddle, a local political gadfly with an active social media following, identified Podell as the offender and called for a protest Thursday morning outside the NBC affiliate in downtown Detroit. At a press conference Tuesday (video below),  he and Rev. W.J. Rideout III, pastor of All God's People Church in Detroit, urged a boycott of WDIV and its advertisers unless the station apologizes.

Update: While picketing the station with allies Thursday morning, Riddle tells BLAC Detroit editor Aaron Foley how he learned of Podell's comment and why he makes it an issue.
► The magazine's follow-up is here

Earlier outcries include this weekend tweet:

Riddle followed up Tuesday:  


Podell, 31, is from West Bloomfield and earned a communications degree from Oakland University. Her career began as an intern at Fox 2 News in Southfield and later at WDIV, where she became a traffic reporter in 2007 and advanced to general assignments.

During live fire coverage in Lapeer three years ago, she dropped an F-bomb on the air inadvertently. 

She has been married for four years. Her dad is Doug Podell, a longtime Detroit radio DJ.

Top 10 countdown so far

10. ’This Would Never Happen at a School in Bloomfield Hills’ – Detroit Teen

9. Ex-Cass Tech QB Jayru Campbell Gets New Chance, Hopes for NFL Career

8. Tump’s  Detroit Church Host Feels Heat: ‘Disgracem’ ‘Disrespectful’

7. Stroh’s Bohemian Pilsner Will Be Brewed in the City of its Birth

6. Charlie LeDuff Leaves Fox 2; ‘I Have No Plan for What Comes Next’

5. Gil Hill Praised as ‘A True_Supporter_of_the_City.’_’Always_Encouraging’  

Read more:  BLAC Detroit magazine

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